Republicans are lying to Americans about a flawed Senate bill on pre-existing conditions.
Republicans repeatedly voted to dismantle health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But now that it’s clear those protections are very popular with Americans, a small group of GOP Senators are pretending they want to keep them around.
Ten senators, led by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), recently introduced a bill they claim “guarantees Americans with preexisting conditions will have health care coverage, regardless of how our judicial system rules on the future of Obamacare.” But the bill, designed to soothe voter anxiety over health care, falls far short of the guarantees provided with Obamacare.
According to Axios, “unlike under the ACA, insurers could exclude coverage of the services associated with pre-existing conditions.”
So, while the Republican bill would stop insurers from denying plans to people with pre-existing conditions, it wouldn’t stop them from denying care related to condition.
Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, put it this way to Vox: “If you were just diagnosed with cancer and needed tens of thousands of dollars of chemotherapy or an expensive surgery, an insurance policy that covered everything but your cancer would feel pretty much useless.”
“This bill provides [the] appearance of protecting people with preexisting conditions, but not the reality,” Levitt continued.
Republican senators are scrambling for cover as the Trump administration and several Republican-led states are set to go to court Sept. 5 in an effort to remove all protections for people with pre-existing conditions, just two months before the midterm elections.
While gutting Obamacare has been among Trump’s top obsessions, health care is one of the top issues in the midterm elections. Vulnerable Senators, like Nevada’s Dean Heller, are facing heat for their previous votes on health care, which would have caused millions of families to lose access to health insurance.
Even a recent Fox News poll showed a majority of Americans support the ACA.
And protection for pre-existing conditions is one of the most popular provisions in the law. A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows a strong majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents support these protections.
Republicans are now running scared, worried that the policy goal the party embraced for almost a decade could come to pass, and they could be left to pay for it in November.